ANALYSIS: Saying Christians fuel 'martyr dreams of being ostracized' during Christmas ignores international persecution

An opinion piece was published in The Battalion, a student publication at Texas A&M University, that made the argument that conservative Christians use the 'War on Christmas' to feel oppressed.

The article falsely claims that “nobody was ostracizing [Christians],” minimizing the 340 million persecuted Christians that faced extreme danger for their beliefs.

An opinion piece published in The Battalion, a student-operated newspaper at Texas A&M University, recently argued that the Christmas season is a time when conservative Christians “perpetuate their martyr dreams of being ostracized.” 

“Winter is Coming,” penned by Abbie Beckley, is an opinion piece that takes a deeper drive into Christmas’ purported true meaning. 

According to the author, the commercialization of the holiday is not necessarily a bad thing as she attributes that trend to the expansion of inclusivity. 

However, Beckley takes the claim a step further by attributing back to her own experience growing up in a conservative Christian household, and further puts stakes in her claim that the “War on Christmas” is used to further a “persecution complex.”

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“The celebration of Christmas being brought closer to the time of the winter solstice is no coincidence,” Beckley states, asserting that it is a “tactic used by ancient Christians in order to convert Pagans and stop them from celebrating their equivalent: Yule.”

Yule is a celebration that begins on December 21 and concludes on January 1 as a Pagan ritual to “welcome back the sun.” It is one of the oldest winter holidays in the world.

“Spoiler alert: nobody was ostracizing them,” Beckley claimed. “As always, Christians remain the loud majority of even political offices, while atheists and Muslims bear most of the religious discrimination in the United States.”

But this analysis misses the mark and diminishes the years of persecution and fighting for religious liberty that Christians have faced for centuries, and even continue to face this day in age. 

Open Doors USA is an organization that seeks to “strength[en] Christians, wherever they are threatened for their faith in Jesus.” According to their website, Christian persecution is one of the “biggest human rights issues of the era.”

The website includes anecdotes of children being bombed in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, a man in North Korea being jailed for his faith, and a woman in Nigeria fleeing for the safety of her unborn child. 

“These people don’t live in the same region, or even on the same continent. But they share an important characteristic: They are all Christians, and they suffer because of their faith. While Christian persecution takes many forms, it is defined as any hostility experienced as a result of identification with Jesus Christ,” the site informs readers. 

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In 2021, World Watch List reported that Christian persecution tallied to more than 340 million Christians “live in places where they experience high levels of persecution, just for following Jesus.” That number is up from 260 million reported in 2020. 

4,761 Christians have been killed for practicing their religion. 4,488 churches and other Christian buildings have faced attacks. Furthermore, 4,277 Christians have been detained without trial, arrested, or imprisoned, according to Open Doors USA.

In May of 2019, BBC reported that the persecution of Christians was at “near genocide levels,” and maintained the notion that Christians have regularly been the most persecuted group in history.

Daniel Pate, a student at Texas A&M and Vice President of Turning Point USA, told Campus Reform the presentation of Christianity in the Battalion article is a good example of why it is listed under the opinion section.

“It’s a very hate-filled piece,” Pate said.

In his belief, the article was written on “baseless” claims that ignores all the “world studies that have proven” Christianity to be a persecuted religion. 

Campus Reform has reached out to The Battalion and the university for comment. The article will be updated accordingly.